WP I2 Geoparticles Experiment Field Trip to Apollonia July 2018



    This project concerns the novel application of muon tomography to archaeology, testing the use of neutrinos in archeological studies, by focusing on a Greek tumulus. In cooperation with the Laboratory of Exploration Geophysics of the university of Thessaloniki (Greece) and with other laboratories in France, an interdisciplinary project was started to study the feasibility of this technique to explore archaeological structures and, if possible, perform a first set of measurements as proof of concept.

    The principle of the technique, the development of a dedicated simulation code and the preliminary sensitivity estimates can be seen below (Figure 1).



    Figure 1: Simulation of the setup for muon tomography of the Apollonia tumulus. Left: geometry of the site, including the tumulus with an internal tomb and the detector. Right: density map of the tumulus reconstructed after the analysis, where a denser structure (corresponding to the tomb) is visible in the center.


    This subproject is part of a larger programme involving the study of volcanoes (through a collaboration with IPGP). In the past year, our studies have focused on improving our simulations to include details of the detector response and to tune the analysis methods, developed for volcano tomography, specifically for archaeology applications (Figure 2).


    Figure 2: Ratio of non-scattered to scattered muons (defined as Signal/Background) as a function of the zenith incident angle (θz) and the opacity (ρ) for one of the three detectors at the La Soufrière volcano (left) and for the Apollonia tumulus (right).


    After a long wait we have now obtained an exploitation permission to install a muon detector near a tumulus in Apollonia, in northern Greece. This tumulus has been already explored by other techniques like electrical resistivity tomography, revealing two internal structures. For this reason, this tumulus represents an ideal scenario to perform the first experimental measurements to prove the capabilities of the muon tomography.


    The extension of the muon tomography technique to archeology is an outstanding example of the evolution of cross-field research.


    This activity is carried out in collaboration with other French laboratories (IPN Lyon, LAPP Annecy, CEA-IRFU) who provide mainly the detectors, as well as with IPGP to study the complementarity of the method to other routinely used techniques. It has also encouraged collaboration with partners in Greece from research Universities in Physics and in Geophysics and with the Ministry of Culture.



    Who we are: meet the Team!


    Coming soon !


  • May 5, 2018:
    The Detector is ready to go!



    The detector that we are going to use in Apollonia is mounted and is looking at the open sky for muons, as part of its initial calibration run. Here are a couple of photos from the device just to have our blood pumping. I would like to thank Jacques and Jean-Christophe for their efforts on the detector mounting and the DAQ setup and their kind hospitality.

    Theodore Avgitas